NCC alumna maps path to bachelor’s & graduate school

Psychology grad aspires to future in a group counseling practice 

This spring, Caroline Lamar is set to graduate from Suffolk University in Boston with a degree in psychology and minor in sociology. On the way, Caroline earned her associate degree from Nashua Community College in 2022.

The College Experience

“I went to NCC for my associate degree in psychology and now I’m finishing up my senior year at Suffolk University in Boston and minoring in Sociology as well, and the next steps are basically going to William James College in the fall for mental health counseling and marriage and family therapy,” she said. “I really wanted to go to grad school right after my bachelor’s and get my license, my hours, and begin working in a group practice which is what I picture for myself after the master’s program.”

Originally from Mont Vernon, New Hampshire, Caroline attended Souhegan High School, taking her junior year at Granite State Arts Academy to explore the music and art curriculum. After high school, Caroline knew she wanted to explore psychology.

“I’ve always had an interest in other people and how they interact with each other, and specifically marriage and family therapy, because I’m really interested in family dynamics and how couples interact, because I grew up with family being the number one priority. Originally, I was thinking of forensic psychology, but I switched gears.”

Caroline enrolled at NCC in 2020 while most classes were online due to the pandemic, until her final two semesters when more in-person classes returned. Despite the online format, Caroline was able to connect with professors, like Professor David Rondeau, program coordinator of psychology.  

“Professor Rondeau was someone who really supported me, especially in research methods class – one of the hardest classes I’ve taken so far. The way class was framed was very supportive for people, but you need to take responsibility for your research. I was really focused on having all the criteria he needed for the class, and I had fun. I did my research on narcissistic CEO’s in companies, I wanted to do something different in areas people don’t normally think about.”

Professor Rondeau said, “Caroline maximized her experience by being fully invested and the perfect balance of confidence and humility about the work. She’s an ideal example of ‘you get out what you put in,’ and she has limitless potential as a clinician and undoubtedly eventually leadership of clinicians or an agency.”

Her final semester, she also interned at Girls Inc. in Nashua. “That was really fun. I was with Professor (Jayne) Barnes taking her class, it was my first internship and I learned a lot working with the girls – supporting them and empowering them to help them in their everyday lives.”

Professor Barnes taught three of Caroline’s psychology classes while she was at NCC, and remembered her as a dedicated student, “In the Internship /Capstone course, Caroline consistently stood out. Her thirst for knowledge is admirable, and she consistently seeks out opportunities to expand her intellectual horizons. Caroline is not only highly intelligent but also possesses strong critical thinking skills and an ability to approach complex problems with a creative and analytical mindset which was demonstrated at her internship at Girls Inc. in Nashua.”


Transferring to Suffolk University

After NCC, Caroline headed straight to Suffolk University. “I definitely wanted to go to a more metropolitan area and expand my world, and Boston was the perfect place for me; not too far from home, and not too close. It was awesome, and I wanted to see the psych program here, and I’ve had a lot of success making new connections, which was something I was apprehensive about because I was so used to being home on my computer.”

While working on her bachelor’s degree, Caroline’s been able to participate in research presentations with her faculty advisor, “I’ve been able to be a part of her research and doctoral student research, it’s helped me get more clarity on my future career.”

She’s also had first-hand experience in internships with Immigration Services Center, and the Lionheart Foundation.

“As part of degree program, I interned with Immigration Services Center, helping people gain citizenship and meeting one-on-one with clients. That was a valuable experience as well, I hadn’t worked with adults yet, it was a lot of legal information I got to learn too.”

She interned online with the Lionheart Foundation out of Dedham, Mass., in the summer of 2023. “They provide services for residential workers who need support in the workplace and mentally, and connect resources. I was reaching out to companies all over Mass. and the US. That was also really cool getting to interact with everyone, and also there was definitely a marketing aspect to that too.”

Now weeks away from earning her bachelor’s degree, Caroline said starting at NCC and transferring to Suffolk University was “easier than expected.”

“I definitely recommend it to anyone. For psychology it’s definitely really helpful because once you start at NCC for example, or another community college, you get the good quality and one-on-one relationship with professors because classes are smaller, and they also try to give you the classes you might get later in your four-year degree during your two-year degree, so it’s easier to transfer.”

“At Suffolk, I basically only had to take electives and a few main psych classes, and most of it was my minor, which was really helpful.”

Financially, starting at a community college was helpful too, she said, “If you’re not sure what you want to focus on, you get flexibility with your financial situation since you’re not locked into a four-year school right away. Community college is definitely the way to go.”

“NCC was a great platform for me to have with my education starting out in higher education, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It helped me build a lot of professional skills in the beginning right out of high school, and it was a really smooth transition for me, and I really appreciate that.”


Have an alumni story you’d like to share? Contact our Alumni Network team at [email protected]

Degrees and Certificates